Tina Gravalos, Holistic Nutritionist
I’ve been seeing a shift in society lately, and I love it! More people are becoming conscious of what they are eating in order to achieve optimal health.
I’m not here to be a drill sergeant and lecture you about ‘good’ food and ‘bad’ food but I do want to say that I want you to listen to your body more. Your body is a powerful thing that when functioning optimally, speaks for itself and most importantly heals itself.
I want to share with you some of my tips on how to make healthier choices while dining out plus getting the most out of your meal and feeling great after too!
Starting the day off right
If you know you’re going out for dinner, make sure you eat balanced meals throughout the day. If you purposely ‘kept it light’ throughout the day because you know you are going out for dinner later, chances are you’re going to order half of the menu and eat it all. I used to do this and let’s just say I’ve had to unbutton my pants before. You know when you get home from work and you open the fridge and basically eat whatever is in sight? Yeah, that. Same concept.
When I say “balanced meals”, I mean eating protein, healthy fats and fiber at each meal. These macronutrients play a crucial role in the many processes your body goes through each day. Have you ever ordered a creamy pasta dish and got full quickly but then were feeling hungry a couple of hours later? I can totally say yes to this. If you’re hungry a couple of hours after a meal, you did something wrong at the meal. You should always feel satiated until your next meal.
Asking to modify a menu item is super simple, as most restaurants are very accommodating. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions about the menu.
If you’re working with a holistic practitioner and are following a protocol, this is where modifying comes in handy. For example, if you’re doing an autoimmune paleo diet (AIP), and you want to order steak frites, swap out the fries for some mixed greens. If you’re feeling a burger, you order that burger! Ask for no bun and ask it to be served on a bed of greens with some delicious toppings like avocado and onions.
If you don’t see something you like, ask for a protein like chicken, steak or fish, mixed greens and a boat load of healthy fat like an avocado.
Chewing is one of the simplest acts that we do every day that can really affect our digestion. Chewing aids in digesting food as it breaks down the food into smaller pieces. The more you chew your food, the less work your digestive system has to do later. Your brain also needs time to process and get the message that you’re full. When people are fast eaters, they tend to overeat because of the amount of time it takes for the brain to get the full signal. You should be chewing your food 20-30 times before swallowing. I know that seems like a long time but don’t stress about it. Just try to become more mindful of chewing more before you swallow.
I’m all for indulging from time to time because let’s be real here, I’m a firm believer in balance. But, if you are sensitive to something like dairy for example, is it really worth ordering that creamy pasta dish for a moment of bliss and then hours of discomfort? I have learned that this is a big no no, from experience, which I’m sure some of you can relate to. Sometimes we need to do a little compromising with ourselves. I mean compromise in the most loving way. This is where mindfulness comes into play. Knowing how said creamy pasta dish has made you feel before, still opt for the pasta but switch up the sauce to something you know agrees with you. This little gesture to yourself can go a long way for your health. Like I said earlier in this post, listen to your body. It can be the most powerful and impactful thing you do for yourself.